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Hollenbeck Canyon Trail

MODERATE 267 reviews

Hollenbeck Canyon Trail is a 4.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Jamul, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
662 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

A beautiful canyon just east of San Diego, California If you are hiking after recent rains, the landscape will be green and lush, but also make the creek crossings (3 total) treacherous. The trail continues past the recorded route if you wish to extend the hike. The whole area between Dulzura and Jamul outside San Diego is beautiful. Rolling green hills with steep rocky peaks here and there.

hiking
bugs
rocky
17 days ago

29 days ago

Be aware that a CA wilderness pass is required. $4.50/day/person or $15/yr./person. Although no one checked us, who wants to take the risk? Also dove hunting is allowed during specific times of the year.

mountain biking
29 days ago

Very beautiful scenery and views lots of green everywhere you look. Great for mountain biking the majority of the terrain is smooth. However there are a few bumpy and steep areas where you have no choice but to walk with your bike on the trail, but the views and ride back down make it well worth it. Great trail would do again.

hiking
1 month ago

My friend and I did this trail late in the day around 4pm and it was magical. There were SO many different species of wildflowers and lots of butterflies flying around. Yes there were a few small creek crossings, people have laid branches to help cross. I suggest staying to the right at the fork where the loop begins. There is a steep incline but the other way seemed like it was just climbing the entire time (was nice to just be going down on the way back). Go before those summer temps hit east county, there isn’t too much shade.

hiking
1 month ago

Pretty quiet trail! Lots of pretty wildflowers this time of year!

hiking
1 month ago

A great day to do this trail! Started at 9am finished by 10:45. A few stream crossings but all except one could be avoided by taking the narrow off-shoot path. All were navigable over rocks and downed trees. Easy with hiking poles. Beautiful fields of CA poppies and other flowers. The stream was really pretty. Agree with moderate rating. One hill is a bit of work! Really nice hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this hike. Definitely not too strenuous. Crossing the water and some uphill areas with loose sand were the most challenging, but really not that bad. Only ‘negative’ was that the trail was poorly marked. No cell service so couldn’t use this awesome app.

hiking
1 month ago

Wonderful easy hike. Trail was in decent condition considering all the recent rains. Water running in the creek was flowing well, but not to difficult to cross. Can get feet wet if not careful crossing over rocks and branches. Flowers in bloom. Poppies are in abundance, along with a few others. Enjoyed this easy hike. Definitely Recommended

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful morning on the trail!
At the trail head there is a sign that is posted that a permit is required, I tried doing via website but wasn't able to and went ahead without the permit. Not sure how strict they are about it if you get caught without one.

1 month ago

Trail was gorgeous. About 1.5 miles into the hike we hit Poppies galore! Creek was running and able to cross in several spots without getting wet. Easy to moderate hike, depending on level of physical conditioning. Great for families.

With the recent rain River is absolutely amazing

hiking
washed out
2 months ago

Outstanding greenery after the rains. Creek was overflowing so we couldn’t cross (others did and reported knee deep water). Will go back once the creek recedes and complete the whole trail. Very beautiful!

hiking
2 months ago

Really liked this trail. No creek right now (late Jan), but beautiful rolling hills. Pretty much had the trail to myself (and the pup!), which was awesome. Someone else mentioned dog boots would be necessary, but I didn't find they were necessary this time of year. AllTrials says it is moderate, but it definitely felt easier to me (and I'm not in great shape right now).

Just a few things, though: 1) I tried to call, but the person I spoke to said day passes need to be printed after being purchased? Maybe a misunderstanding since no one else has mentioned that. She also couldn't tell me which CA annual passes were valid there. Had to do a couple phone calls to find a place that really wasn't close-by to buy one. 2) The trail would really benefit from some signs. Lot of directions to go, and could be a bit confusing the first couple times you are there. 3) No trash can or bench at the trail head.

3 months ago

Love this place!!!

4 months ago

Really pretty, but too desolate for a single female hiker. There was only one car in the parking lot when I reached the location. I’ve been on lots of hikes, almost all alone, but this one was rather eerie. I’ve been to 3rd world countries all around Central America and walked alone with no issue. I decided it was best to turn back after one mile, which I’ve never done before. I rather be smart than be a statistic, or worse. I will try this one again when I’m with another hiker. The land permit warning is old. If you look it up, it’s waived now, but the big sign that states otherwise, makes a statement. There was a 3rd car in the lot when I returned. A guy that was just idling for some reason. I got turned around on my way back and a truck was in the field, doing something strange in front. Okay, this place had me spooked. I’m not sure what all the fur along the trail was all about either.

hiking
4 months ago

We love this gorgeous hike! New fave and we hike a lot!!
We did the 5 additional miles at the top- out and back and then finished the hike for a total of 7 miles. So pretty through the oak grove in the first mile or so then the climb up. Stunning views the whole way. We never hiked in Jamal before and we will be back!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful little hike however no water in the creek right now but still beautiful. I got 4.8 miles. When the trail turns sharply to the left it climbs quickly. If you take the left trail near the Y you would have an easier time of it but I enjoyed the climb. You are supposed to pay a fee but I tried calling twice and also tried the internet URL but not functioning which also happened to another couple. A nice day out and about.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike for our family. Kids are 12, 11 and 8. They had no problem . . . A little candy along the way didn’t hurt. It was 4.7 miles and took 1hr50min. A steep section in the loop was the only difficult portion.

mountain biking
6 months ago

Pretty good trail..

mountain biking
6 months ago

Nice trail

hiking
6 months ago

I will do this hike again. Mostly flat with a couple inclines. One major one as you loop around and head up and back. Lots of big black and red ants. If you take a dog, put shoes on him.

hiking
7 months ago

I hiked this Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area trail in the early morning while it was still cool (August).

Trail is well established, but caution as other trails cross or intersect. Moderate use by hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. Some trail sections have lots of rocks. I did use hiking poles because I hike at a fast pace. Lots of oak trees, olive trees, coastal sagebrush and buckwheat. Wildlife is plentiful. I saw three Red Tail hawks, a Downy woodpecker, other birds, rabbits (I posted rabbit photo that wasn’t too shy). The trail is by a creek, but no water in the summer months. I choose to hike the north side of the loop and come back through Hollenbeck Canyon. The sun in my eyes. Next time I would hike the Hollenbeck Canyon side of the loop first before the sun comes over the ridge.

Lots of parking at the trailhead, including a port-a-potty. You now have to hold California Department of Fish and wildlife (CDFW) Land Pass. Sign posted with website (https://wildlife.ca.gov/license/lands-pass), where you can purchase online or you can call (800) 565-1458 pay over the phone and get a temporary authorization number (TAN). Choices are; day use pass ($4.32) or an annual pass ($25.00) Note: Login online as a guest for day pass, but annual pass will require you to sign in as a member. However, if you already have a hunting, fishing or or trapping license, you do not need to pay. Each visitor must have their own pass and keep on their person, not placed in vehicle.

hiking
10 months ago

One of my favorites. My favorite in chula vista

10 months ago

Beautiful trail. Ran into a rattlesnake along the trail overlooking the canyon...I stepped towards a big rock with a flat surface with the intention of placing my backpack on it when I heard a loud hiss and looked down to see a rattlesnake, partially covered in shadow, nestled in between the big flat-top rocks and smaller rocks. Stay alert!

hiking
11 months ago

Early in the morning there's alot of wildlife.

trail running
11 months ago

FYI need to purchase day pass. They offer annual passes but you must purchase those in advance.

hiking
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Nice hike and most of it is fairly easy. It is pretty steep up and down during the loop portion. The hike is mostly sunny and the only shade is near the trail head. There are many trails out there and they are not labeled well, so check the app occasionally if you are recording. This area requires a land pass for usage that you can buy online for about $4. I would hike this again and bring the kids.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Excellent!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

What a great trail! I'm a beginner and found this to me beautiful, scenic and doable for children and adults. Good rocks for footing, and hardly any slipping areas. But in drier season could be more risk of slips. But that may be with any trail.

Can't wait to bring my 10 and 16 year old!

hiking
Saturday, March 24, 2018

This is one of my favorite trails. I love that it’s away from the city, and you actually get to experience some beautiful nature and wildlife. (I come from the Sierra Nevadas, so I need nature.) I have seen many different lizards, frogs, birds, and a few different snakes...even picked up a Rosy Boa. (They are very docile snakes, even in the wild.)
The trail is long enough that it makes you feel accomplished. It’s beautiful the whole way through. The trail changes scenery as you walk. It starts out being open, then you walk through trees and eventually walk along a creek. Then you walk along side a cliff that over looks a canyon. Then you climb a hill and once at the top you have some nice views. A lot of the walk back down is gorgeous with the views. The trail goes in a loop, so you end up walking back in the middle of the trail you came up on.

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